Campaign groups have raised concern that Wales’ watered down building regulations could threaten zero carbon targets
The Welsh government announced amendments to Part L that would see an 8 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions required from June 2014.
This is significantly lower than the 40 per cent reduction in the preferred option mooted after consultation.
The move was slammed by green groups, who say it is now unclear whether Wales will manage to match the standards being set in England.
WWF Cymru policy officer Alun James said: ‘The announcement by Welsh housing minister Carl Sargeant that the Welsh government is watering down plans for better insulated, more energy efficient new homes is bad news for householders and for the environment.
‘We are now concerned about the lack of clarity on standards from 2016 and would urge the minister, as a minimum, to commit to matching the English policy of zero carbon new homes from that date. That would, at least, show the Welsh government is still committed to tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development in one of the key areas fully within its control.’
Friends of the Earth accused the Welsh government of ‘removing Wales from the driving seat of innovation, research and development’.
Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru Gareth Clubb said: ‘This announcement is a serious blow to the Welsh Government’s credibility on sustainability.
‘The Welsh Government has capitulated to the well-financed housebuilding lobby. This decision will lock-in future generations to higher energy bills, more fuel poverty and lower quality housing.’
But Welsh housing minister Carl Sargeant insisted the move represented a balanced approach to reducing emissions without ‘undermining the objective to build’.
‘This will support more consistent delivery across the housing market, while having a close to cost neutral effect on building costs. I believe this is important given the nature of the current housing market and the need to stimulate housing supply and get builders building,’ he said. ‘In addition, this approach does not prevent voluntary implementation of further increases in energy efficiency by the industry’.